Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Fully Accepted by God

Part 5 of a series through Galatians

Text: Galatians 2:11-16

THE TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL

"When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel…" (v. 14a).

QUESTION: “Gospel” means “good news.” What is so good about the gospel of Jesus Christ?

ANSWER: The gospel provides a way for sinners to be fully accepted by God?

“We who are Jews by birth and not ‘Gentile sinners’ know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified” (vv. 15-16).
  • To be justified means to be declared innocent before God.
  • We cannot be justified by our own works.
  • We can only be justified by faith in Christ.
WHAT DOES FOOD HAVE TO DO WITH THE GOSPEL?

"I said to Peter in front of them all, 'You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?'” (v. 14b).

After the Exodus, God gave to Israel laws about what they could and could not eat (cf. Lev. 11; Deut. 14). Why did God give these food laws to Israel, and why is it no longer necessary for us to follow them?
  • The food laws were given to keep Israel distinct from the other nations.
  • The food laws were done away with when Jews and Gentiles became united in the church (cf. Acts 10:9-28).
QUESTION: How was Peter “not acting in line with the truth of the gospel”?

ANSWER: He was not fully accepting those whom God had already fully accepted.

WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THIS?

Peter’s sin and Paul’s rebuke teach us three lessons:
  1. Even great Christians make great mistakes.
  2. Protecting the gospel is more important than protecting peace.
  3. There are no second-class Christians (cf. Gal. 3:28).
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